Dog’s life was a pain in the neck before expert vet treatment - Veterinary Practice
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Dog’s life was a pain in the neck before expert vet treatment

The rare cause of the dog’s discomfort is called neck tongue syndrome and has only previously been described in humans

A dog whose quality of life had spiralled downwards due to an incredibly rare disease only previously reported in humans is back to enjoying walks thanks to a County Durham animal hospital.

Following a multidisciplinary approach to treating him at Linnaeus-owned Wear Referrals, 13-year-old Deazel, a Hungarian Vizsla, is once again enjoying walks in his Welsh hometown. He is also sleeping more comfortably and no longer looks like he has a headache.

The rare cause of Deazel’s discomfort is called neck tongue syndrome and has only previously been described in humans.

Deazel had been incredibly fit and active throughout his life but first started having problems a couple of years ago, which culminated more recently in a major medical incident that left him with a tendency for deviated tongue, along with severe neck and head pain.

A referring vet noticed a trigger point near Deazel’s first cervical vertebrae, along with peculiar tongue behaviour.

It was when Deazel was referred to the renowned Wear Referrals in County Durham that Clare Rusbridge, senior neurologist and professor in veterinary neurology, considered the unusual pain syndrome.

The pain is due to dysfunction or disease of nerve roots in the upper neck, especially the C1 nerve root.

Deazel underwent advanced imaging at Wear, including MRI and CT scans, to rule out structural causes. Following this, it was decided to block the C1 and C2 nerve roots to see if this improved the clinical signs.

Five months later the outcome for Deazel is excellent, with walks and comfortable sleeping now back in his life.

Deazel at hillwalk

Reflecting on her decision to make the long trip to the northeast of England from Wales, Deazel’s owner Kate Adams, from Llanafan Fawr, in Powys, said: “I had seen several specialists in multiple locations before travelling to the northeast.

“I set out on the 560-mile round trip from my hometown in Powys to see Clare at Wear Referrals in County Durham, and it was worth every single mile of the journey.

“Clare was exceptional, not only in her considerable expertise in diagnosing Deazel and her treatment plan but also in her empathy. She is clearly a huge animal lover.

“Deazel then underwent detailed diagnostics under Clare’s expert care, and head of anaesthesia, Felipe, performed some extremely skilful work injecting Deazel at C1 and C2 nerve roots.”  

Clare Rusbridge said: “It was a true team effort to treat Deazel. From the keen observations of his referring vet to the precise needle placement by our skilled anaesthetist Felipe Grados, it was a truly multidisciplinary collaboration.”

Kate added, “I took Deazel back to Wear Referrals for a check-up four months after the injections, and he greeted Clare very enthusiastically. He clearly remembered her, which was lovely to see.

“His quality of life is now much improved. He is now a much happier, more comfortable dog overall. As well as check-ups at Wear, Deazel also has regular acupuncture and physio treatment at Animal Acupuncture Wales with Liz Curtis and the veterinary practice at Ddole Road.”

Wear specialises in providing expert multidisciplinary care, including anaesthesia, cardiology, diagnostic imaging, intensive care, internal medicine, neurology, out-of-hours emergency and critical care, oncology, orthopaedics and soft tissue. 

For more information on Wear Referrals, visit their website or search for them on social media.

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